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News in brief: 03 January 2013

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News in brief: 03 January 2013

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News in brief: 03 January 2013

Country/Region: Africa, Middle East and North Africa, South and East Asia, Tanzania, Iran, Syria, Libya, Indonesia

Tanzania: church leader injured in Christmas Day shooting by suspected Islamists

A church leader was critically wounded in a Christmas Day shooting by suspected Islamist separatists in Zanzibar.

The Rev. Ambrose Mkenda was shot in the face and shoulder by two attackers on a motorcycle. The shooting took place as the church leader returned to his home in Tomondo just before 8pm. He was rushed to hospital and later transferred to intensive care as his condition deteriorated.

UAMSHO (Association for Islamic Mobilisation and Propagation), an Islamist separatist group that wants semi-autonomous Zanzibar to become independent from mainland Tanzania, is suspected of carrying out the attack.

The group distributed leaflets threatening church leaders in Zanzibar in October following attacks on several churches.   

Source: Morning Star News

Iran: 50 Christians arrested at house church gathering

Around 50 Christians, mostly converts from Islam, were arrested at a house church Christmas gathering in Tehran.

The raid by 15 police and security agents happened on 27 December. The Christians had to hand over their mobile phones and personal information, including passwords to their email and social media accounts, and explain how they had come to accept Christianity. The majority were released after being interrogated, but the Rev. Vruir Avanessian, who has chronic kidney disease for which he requires dialysis, was detained. He has been taken to hospital by prison guards to receive his treatment.

The Islamic regime generally intensifies its campaign against Christians over the Christmas period.

Indonesia: rotten eggs, dung and urine thrown at congregation during Christmas Eve event

Members of Filadelfia Batak Christian Protestant Church (HKBP) came under attack by Muslims as they gathered in the open for a Christmas Eve service.

The assailants threw rotten eggs, dung and plastic bags full of urine at the congregation of around 200 people. HKBP had been subjected to a similar assault in May.

On Christmas Eve, the congregation gathered for a service in front of its property in Bekasi, West Java, which has been sealed off by the authorities. It was forced to flee and hold the service in the compound of a police station.

HKBP has been denied a building permit despite a Supreme Court ruling that one be granted and the site reopened.

Syria: Christian man kidnapped and beheaded by rebels

A 38-year-old Christian man was kidnapped and beheaded by opposition fighters in Syria.

A respected Christian figure reported the brutal murder of Andrei Arbashe, which happened in the northern town of Ras Al-Ayn. He had recently married, and his wife is pregnant.

Andrei was kidnapped after his brother was heard criticising the behaviour of the rebels. His body was found by a roadside, surrounded by hungry dogs.

In November, the Syrian opposition attacked Ras Al-Ayn, entered the Christian quarter and ordered residents to leave; more than 200 families were driven out.

Libya: Two church workers killed in bombing of Egyptian church building

Two church workers were killed in the bombing of a building belonging to an Egyptian church in Libya.

The incident in Dafniya, near Misrata, on Sunday (30 December) was the first major assault on a Christian target in Libya since the revolution.

Expatriates from Egypt and other African countries along with Europeans comprise the overwhelming majority of the small Christian community in Libya.

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    • Since General al-Sisi became President of Egypt in June, Christians in the country have felt the pressure upon them ease off somewhat. However, a convert from Islam, Bishoy Armia Boulous, previously known as Mohammed Hegazy, remains in prison. He was rearrested on 4 December 2013, charged with defaming Islam after he fi led a public lawsuit to change the religious affiliation listed on his national identification card from Muslim to Christian. Please pray that there will be genuine religious liberty for Christians from a Muslim background as well as those born into Christian families. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed 12 hours ago

    • Lift up in prayer Christians living in Minya, Egypt whose homes were attacked on 5 August by local Muslims. The violence broke out after Muslims learned that believers in Yaacoub planned to build a new church. Opposition to construction of church buildings is one of the most common reasons behind anti-Christian attacks Scores of Egyptian churches were attacked following the removal of Mohammed Morsi by Muslims in Egypt. Restrictions on the building of churches, a cause of hardship for Christians for many years, were lifted in Egypt’s recent new constitution. Pray that the assailants will be brought to justice and that the plans for the local church building will continue. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Wed, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Give thanks that ten Egyptian churches destroyed in anti-Christian attacks last year have now been reopened. Around 60 churches across Egypt were attacked by Islamists in the summer of 2013. The assaults were provoked by the ouster of former president Mohammed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood. Although the current Egyptian government has promised to rebuild all the damaged churches, most of the Christians have not yet received aid and some are worshipping in ruined buildings. Pray that the rebuilding process will continue and that the Lord will protect His people in Egypt, especially while they are still meeting in damaged buildings. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Tue, Oct 2014 00:00

    • Dear Lord Jesus, we ask Your blessing on the thousands of Eritrean Christian refugees who have fled from escalating anti-Christian persecution in their home country, and are being detained in prisons in Egypt. Because they are Your followers, they face horrific treatment. We pray especially for women and men who have been raped in prison, and for those who have been kept chained for months, suffering hunger, torture and abuse. You said that You had been sent to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and to set the oppressed free. Please free these faithful ones, who suffer for Your Name (Luke 4:18, 21). Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Mon, Oct 2014 00:00

    • “We had this feeling that jihadists wanted to wipe out any trace of Christianity in the north of Mali. But God in His goodness has not allowed such an eventuality,” said Dr Yattara, the president of the Baptist Church in northern Mali, to World Watch Monitor in September. He was describing how most of the Christians who had fled the region when Islamist radicals took control in 2012 have now returned to their homes after French troops ousted the Islamists. Many church buildings were desecrated, looted or severely damaged, but the Christians are determined to resume their ministries. Praise God for the continued Christian presence in northern Mali, for the courage of the Christians and for the religious liberty that they have under the law. Subscribe to the prayer points rss feed Sun, Oct 2014 00:00

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